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Business Card Composer v 5.01

Product Review

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Company: BeLight Software
Contact: Email
Price: $34.95 for Standard Edition, $ 40 for Retail Edition
Pros: excellent training videos, easy to use, many templates, adds google maps, snow leopard ready, many design and printing options, help feature is thorough.
Cons: none

Product Rating

moose

Excellent

by Gary Miller, AAUG Member

Conflict of interest disclosure: BeLight provided a free copy of Business Card Composer 5 to me for the purposes of the review.

Business Card Composer 5 is a fabulously well crafted application that gives the user freedom and choices about using included templates ( 210 or another 140 in the Retail Edition) that can be chosen by size, card style, profession, and using your own templates to further enhance them with it’s included design studio. I watched the 6 short video tutorials that go through it’s features in detail, showing exactly how to do them. I wish all companies would do this for us visual learners. I wanted to update a business card I had designed with another companies software, and wow. BeLight’s approach was so much easier to use, and I could see I could really play with the card, and even put a bar code or google map on it’s front or back, yes, it assists you to do 2 sided printing.

Since I already had business card stock, I easily found it from the list of those it works with, and I saw that I could when printing, start up on a half used card stock sheet, saving me. I liked the way I could use foreground or background images, and then tweak them to suit. I was playing more than I needed to, but it was fun. and creative. I was able to use my own iPhoto images, and then work with them with Business Card Composer’s masks, text editor, included graphic’s editor, and it’s integration of Apple’s Address book, allowed to get the data easily.

One feature I have hunted for is adding a map to the business card. I had tried unsuccessfully to crop, downsize, manipulate a Google map. Well finally a successful outcome, Business Card Composer easily lets you use Google Maps, crop them, even add an on street line for ease of finding a place. I have not used the new 2D bar code feature, but it’s amazing. The software includes a bar code reader that I used with my iMac’s webcam to read a bar code, or to check on one you create.

I love how affordable BeLight Software is, this product is available in 2 formats, both downloadable too, $35 for the Standard Edition or $ 40 for the Retail version, this one includes deluxe fonts, and more templates. If you had an older version you can upgrade for only $ 20 ( or if you bought it after August 1, 2009, it’s a free upgrade).

I love it, found it easy to use, and has so much I can learn and apply in my daily desktop use.

System Requirements: Mac OS X 10.4.11 or later. Snow Leopard compatible.
Available in: English, German.

All Features of Business Card Composer
Graphics

* More than 24,000 clipart images (1,000 — in standard edition).
* More than 740 ready-made designs, organized in categories (500 in standard edition).
* More than 100 unique image masks.
* Apply Mac OS X Core Image filters to your images.

Design Business Cards

* Create regular, folded and CD-R cards.
* Horizontal and vertical layouts supported.
* Full support for double-sided cards. Both sides are saved in the same document, allowing you to switch between sides on a fly and print them with ease.
* Smart guides help to arrange design elements neatly.
* Option to manually set object position and size.
* Adjust vertical spacing or distribute objects vertically and horizontally.
* Horizontal and vertical object alignment.
* Make use of adjustable shadows with color settings.
* 3 alignment modes, including text alignment within text boxes.
* The application supports object editing on Background and Foreground layers, which helps to create advanced card designs.
* Special text labels for marking phone number, e-mail, etc.
* Google maps integration lets you import map image onto the card.
* Generate Code 128 barcode, as well as 2-dimensional barcodes, Data Matrix and QR (Quick Response).
* Integration with Apple iPhoto and Aperture lets preview and use pictures from the iPhoto libraries.
* 100 additional fonts (retail edition only).

Working with Graphics

* Tint images with colors, tile and rotate them, as well as change their transparency.
* Fill different objects with Linear or Radial gradients.
* Insert images in many supported formats — TIFF, JPEG, GIF, PDF, EPS and more.
* 7,000 photo objects with transparent background can be applied to any picture to create mixed designs.
* Search images by keywords.
* Image cropping allows you to crop images directly in Composer.
* A custom image can be used as a mask in addition to the predesigned masks.
* Select multiple objects with the ability to resize and rotate them as a single item.
* Converting a text object into an image allows you to apply image effects to it.
* Adjustable export to EPS.
* Art Text integration helps to create high quality textual graphics, headings, logos, icons and buttons.

Technologies

* Universal Binary version that allows to run natively on both PowerPC and Intel-based Macintosh computers.
* Integration with Apple Address Book — drag and drop contacts right onto your cards.
* Integration with iPhoto lets preview and use pictures from the iPhoto libraries.
* Search images in Google right from Business Card Composer.
* Images from a custom folder can be used along with the built-in clipart.
* Generate fancy random backgrounds with a click of the button.
* Order your cards to be printed and mailed to you from an online print shop.
* The counter feature allows you to numerate cards and assign each card a unique number.
* Text File Data support allows to read data from text files. This can be helpful when creating badges for a conference, etc.
* Merge Image functionality allows to import and auto-replace images from Address Book, iPhoto and Finder. This can be used for creating badges and printing iPhoto thumbnails.
* Spotlight support allows the system to search a text within Business Card Composer documents.
* Quick Look technology support allows you to view the content of a file without even opening it.

Usability

* 3-step Assistant to get started quickly.
* About 700 supported business card paper for ink jet and laser printers, from Avery, APLI, Decadry, Sigel, A-One and other manufacturers.
* Use custom layouts for unsupported card stock, greeting cards, badges and other kinds of labels.
* Customizable export to PDF and TIFF allows to save your design in a format appropriate for sending to a professional print shop.
* Use export to JPEG format for sending business cards via e-mail.
* Address set-up option in Preferences allows you to set specific address fields order for different countries.
* “Set address field in a line” allows to modify two-lined address from Address Book into one line automatically.
* Ruler and measurement units save you time on editing data.

Print Cards

* Printer calibration allows to fine-tune the printer for accurate results.
* Cut marks can be printed — helpful for printing on non-perforated paper.
* Control the number of cards you want to print and the position on the sheet from where to start printing.
* Duplex printers support for printing double-sided cards.
* New printing technology allows for choosing among 3 printing methods. You can either print cards for yourself, or print one design for several people, or print multiple designs on one sheet.
* In the printing process, the preview window with the additional settings displays your modifications on the fly.
* The Text to Curve feature (using export options) lets you transform the document into vector image. This will help to avoid problems with font absence when you send a document to a printshop.

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